We also saw extended versions of the demos shown at EA's press conference, which included tons of new info on the enhanced combat in the game. Particularly cool is the new Omni-blade device wielded by Shepard. It looks like one of the glowing Omni Tools used for hacking and suchlike in the previous games, but here functions like Ezio's finger blade from Assassin's Creed, used for brutal stealth kills when you get in close.
In general the weapon customisation seems deeper - an obvious response to the criticism that the gun upgrades were too simplified in the second game, having been too complex in the first thanks a cluttered inventory. Now it's like the Little Bear's porridge: just right. You can buy (or find) upgrades for guns, which are then attached on an engineering bench-type screen to reduce recoil, improve the rate of fire and so on.
You'll need the extra firepower too. The forces of Cerberus, the racist human separatists, provide additional enemies for Shepard in the game. In one section we saw him taking on Cerberus troops equipped with big steel shields, which he needed to outflank. Fortunately that was made easier thanks to the improved squad command system. You'll also be able to commandeer a Cerberus Atlas - which is a weaponised mech suit - and stomp around in that.
Arguably the most exciting glimpse of new gameplay detail, though, was a brief section of footage that showed the map screen being used to navigate between various cities on the same planet, suggesting deeper exploration than ever.
To be honest we were so excited leaving the space capsule, that we sort of lost the run of ourselves. Having just seen a glimpse of Miranda on screen, thoughts turned to our own lonely fem Shep. "Please make Miranda do girl/girl in this one," we spluttered to Hudson, hoping to sound like light-hearted rogues not massive space pervs.
It wasn't entirely clear he'd heard us correctly, but his startled looking eyes suggest he probably had. Sorry Casey. We're very tired. Now, where are those Mentos?